Meet the Makers Row team. Their mission is to make the manufacturing process simple to understand and easy to access. From large corporations to first time designers, they provide unparalleled access to industry-specific factories and suppliers across the United States.
Q. Please tell us a little about yourself/your company?
A. Matthew Burnett- I am a Detroit native that has been living in New York for several years. My grandfather inspired my interest in small shop manufacturing as he was a watchmaker by trade. He built a miniature workshop desk for all my brothers to play with craft tools beside him. Later, I received a BFA in industrial design from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. I began my professional career designing watches for Marc Jacobs, DKNY, and Diesel, later becoming senior watch designer for Izod. After working in the watch industry for some time, I decided to start my own line, Steel Cake, having watches made overseas. Manufacturing as a small independent company overseas eventually became so frustrating and expensive that I decided to start manufacturing goods in the United States and founded The Brooklyn Bakery. Tanya and I met during this period and unified our complimentary skill sets to tackle the fashion industry. While sourcing here in the United States we encountered many obstacles in finding the right manufacturer. From there, the idea of making domestic sourcing more accessible was created.
Tanya Menendez – I’m from California and a sociologist by training. I’m most interested in the intersection of technology and society, and early in my career I focused on researching technology in rural areas with Tricia Wang. During college I also interned for Google in Mtn. View and some think-tanks in DC, but I ultimately decided to move to NYC to accept an offer from Goldman Sachs. While at Goldman, I was working on automation projects but I was also working with Matthew part-time on weekends and late nights, and really enjoyed the work: I loved how his company was supporting a network of local factories and other small businesses. He asked me to come on full-time as a co-owner and I quit my job at Goldman. As we were trying to expand the business, we realized that there was a huge lack of transparency and community within the industry. It would take us months to find the right factory, so we decided to create Maker’s Row to solve this problem. We applied for the Brooklyn Beta Summer Camp to help accelerate the process of creating a tech company, and that is where we found Scott via Collabfinder.com
Scott Weiner – Scott has been designing and developing websites since the age of 13. Growing up on Long Island, he created his first website – a Simpsons fan page. After getting a BFA in Communications Design at Syracuse University, he held Art Director positions at design firms and ad agencies in the tri-state area. He started up Brandwagon in 2009 — a design shop that catered to clients, including: Comedy Central, Sesame Street, Blip.tv, DailyWorth.com, as well as several ad agencies. Branding, websites, and online ads were his niche. He also started to develop his own iPhone apps as a hobby and enjoyed having control of a product from concept to execution. That led him to venture out into the tech startup scene this year — going to meetups and applying to Brooklyn Beta Summer Camp, where he ultimately met Tanya and Matthew on CollabFinder.com.
Maker’s Row is an online marketplace for American manufacturers and designers. Our mission is to make American manufacturing easy to access and simple to understand. We are a resource to the established businesses, and by equal importance, we are inspiring the next generation of American businesses to think domestic first.
Q. When were you/your company first inspired to support manufacturing in America?
A. The inspiration for Maker’s Row arose from our own need, and realizing that other entrepreneurs had the same need. Two of the co-founders (Matthew and Tanya) were running The Brooklyn Bakery together we were really frustrated at how difficult it was for us to find the proper manufacturer. It would take us months to find the right factories and materials, which really slowed our growth. Whenever we would go to events for product-based entrepreneurs, sourcing would always come up as an issue.
Before we created Maker’s Row, we saw that sourcing was a multi-faceted problem: there is no comprehensive resource, little community, and very little transparency. This made it so that it would take a very long time to find a manufacturer and supplier, and if you are a small company, that takes away from the time you can spend designing, marketing and selling. Makers Row is making manufacturing accessible and what might have taken a designer months to find with multiple specialty resources, is now accessible in one comprehensive platform.
Q. Why is American Manufacturing important to you/your company?
A. American Manufacturing is important to us because of the enormous effect it has on everyone, whether you small rural communities, or big cities. The importance of domestic manufacturing has been underplayed for decades in the United States and we have seen the negative effects that has had in cities nationwide. The manufacturing community is extremely fragmented and we saw an amazing opportunity in which we could serve as a platform to unite factories and product based businesses here in the US.
Q. How have you/your company supported American manufacturing throughout your life?
A. Matthew: As soon as I was of age to work held summer jobs in a number of craftsman studios from frame shops to local artisan markets. I have had a number of years working with small and medium sized businesses that relied primarily on American manufacturing. My grandfather was a horologist and owned his own watch shop in Detroit MI, and has always been an inspiration to me in seeing what impact small businesses have in their communities.
Q. Favorite quote? (Can be fun, motivational, etc. etc)
A. “We cannot build our own future without helping others to build theirs.”
– Bill Clinton
It was a great pleasure to have interviewed the Makers Row team this week. If you are a manufacturer or anyone who is in need of supplies for making things in America, MakersRow.Com is your place for many resources! Thank you all for reading another week of ‘The Importance of American Manufacturing.’
Join us next week on Monday for another segment of “The Importance of American Manufacturing”
If you, or someone you know, would be interested in being interviewed on the Importance of American Manufacturing, please send inquiries to Logan Beam at firstname.lastname@example.org